It’s the question we get asked every year: what do I wear over my outfit to that (insert fabulous occasion here)? So we put our heads together and came up with some answers. The good news: you already have everything you need.
Honestly, we’re as guilty as anyone. We’ll often plan an outfit down to the earring, and then at the last minute realise we haven’t considered a coat. Of course, when in doubt, we always reach for a classic trench. But there are several layers that will pair perfectly well with whatever gorgeous look you’ve put together for that wedding or cocktail party. To follow, our guide to ‘what to wear on top’.
THE TUX JACKET
If you’re going somewhere formal, tailoring is key. And nothing beats a tuxedo jacket. We love styles with a borrowed-from-the-boys feel, complete with sharp lines and a satin lapel. This is a cool, modern staple that looks just right thrown over a party dress… and then with jeans the next day.
When in doubt, reach for a trench. This will come as no surprise to regular readers – we recently dedicated the best part of an issue to this very topic. Basically, if you stick with a classic style in beige, it’s always smart and will work with whatever you’re wearing, be it a ball gown or day suit. Want to dress it up a little? We sometimes switch out the belt for a wide ribbon, or add a brooch.
THE DENIM JACKET
Don’t overlook your denim jacket – it may be basic, but that’s exactly what makes it the perfect cover-up for a garden party or casual cocktails. Rather than compete with your outfit, denim plays nicely with everything. The only trick here is to keep it chic, meaning a dark wash rather than anything too distressed, and opt for a fit that’s more relaxed than fitted.
THE LINEN BLAZER
Whether you’re wearing it on, open, or thrown over your shoulders, a linen blazer is one of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe. In part, because it can move so seamlessly between smart and casual – the fabric is all relaxed, the cut is sophisticated. For spring and summer, we love pastels or light neutrals, such as white, cream and sand (navy and black work too). Just remember, complementing the dress rather than matching it is key.
Sometimes it’s the simplest layers in your wardrobe that hold the answer to the problem. A cardigan isn’t an obvious choice, because it’s often worn so casually. However, the right style makes an elegant layer: keep it lightweight and consider details like three-quarter sleeves, gold buttons or a cropped style. Alternatively, an oversized knit paired with an elegant dress can look so effortless. And don’t be afraid of colour, either – this is one time we’d urge you to opt for a hue over a neutral.
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